Clinical Management of Pain, M.Sc.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Module)
    Tuition (Module)
  • English (take IELTS)
The MSc in the Clinical Management of Pain at The University of Edinburgh programme provides advanced pain management education for graduates in medicine, dentistry, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychology and other disciplines involved in pain management
  • Overview
  • Programme outline
  • Key facts
  • Admission requirements
  • Fees and funding


The MSc in the Clinical Management of Pain at The University of Edinburgh programme provides advanced pain management education for graduates in medicine, dentistry, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychology and other disciplines involved in pain management

Pain management is a branch of medicine that employs an interdisciplinary approach for easing the suffering and improving the quality of life of those living with pain. Different types of pain exist, from acute, short term pain to chronic, long term conditions. Each of these pain types can involve a different management strategy - sometimes, a single practitioner providing pain relieving drugs and other times, a multidisciplinary team consisting of medical practitioners, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses and other health care practitioners.

As a multidimensional phenomenon, it is essential that pain is managed through planned, multidisciplinary initiatives and inputs that aim to ease patient suffering.

Our programme:

  • provides graduates with the informed and evidence-based ability and skills to manage pain in a variety of settings
  • is designed to encourage multidisciplinary learning
  • will equip students with the knowledge and skills to manage pain more effectively

The MSc in the Clinical Management of Pain is a wholly online educational experience and as such, there are no residential components to this programme. This means that students do not have to travel to the University of Edinburgh campus at any time during the programme.

Although studying at a distance, all students have access to the University of Edinburghs extensive educational resources and support services, as well as forming part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

From one of the world’s leading academic institutions, this programme offers a multidisciplinary, international approach to the management of pain and provides students with current, theoretical knowledge that can be translated into practice across the world.

Educational Outcomes:

  • To provide an internationally transferable, integrated, educational programme of both theory and practice
  • To develop graduates with a deep understanding of the principles and practice of pain management
  • To develop cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary understanding in the art and practice of pain management

Overall, students will gain the knowledge, understanding and evaluative skills to provide advanced clinical care so as to improve outcomes for patients.


The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is the sixth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland'sancient universities. It was the fourth university to be established in Scotland and the sixth in the United Kingdom, and is regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university.

The University of Edinburgh is ranked 17th in the world by the 2013 QS rankings. It is ranked 11th in the world in arts and humanities by the 2012–13 Times Higher Education Ranking. It is ranked the 15th most employable university in the world by the 2013 Global Employability University Ranking.It is a member of both the Russell Group, and the League of European Research Universities, a consortium of 21 research universities in Europe. It has the third largest endowment of any university in the United Kingdom, after the universities of Cambridge and Oxford.

Programme Structure

The programme is delivered fully online using methods supported by the University’s award-winning online learning environments.

The key difference between the awards is in the number of credits needed to achieve each level:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: this is 60 successfully completed credits of study. Students have a maximum time limit for completion of two years and a minimum time limit of one year.

  • Postgraduate Diploma: this is 120 successfully completed credits of study. Students have a maximum time limit for completion of four years and a minimum time limit of two years.

  • Masters Degree: this is 180 successfully completed credits of study. In some cases this will be 180 credits of taught courses, whilst in others, this will be 120 credits of taught courses plus 60 credits of research in the form of a dissertation or structured project. Students have a maximum time limit for completion of six years and a minimum time limit of three years.

Postgraduate Certificate / 'Level One' courses (60 credits)

The Postgraduate Certificate level courses allow students to gain a solid, theoretical understanding of the biological, psychological and social concepts that drive, develop and maintain pain. Through six core courses covering, assessment and measurement of pain, mechanisms of pain, and, the pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of pain, students will explore pain's multifaceted nature. Students will also examine selected conditions that are commonly seen in clinical practice.

Postgraduate Diploma / 'Level two' course options (60 credits) - not all Year two courses will be offered every year

You must complete the Postgraduate Certificate / 'Level One' courses before beginning:

The Postgraduate Diploma level courses allow students to select 60 credits worth of courses (normally, this would be three courses) that focus on selected areas of pain management that are congruent with students' career goals and clinical or personal interests.

Through a number of course options, including, but not limited to, courses in palliative care, medical pain, acute pain, neuropathic pain and pain in ageing populations, students will gain an advanced understanding of a variety of specialist area of pain management.

At postgraduate diploma level, students may also opt to specialise in the area of headache management. If students select this option, this level consists of a number of core specialist courses all directed towards headache assessment, treatment and management.

Masters / 'Level three' course options (60 credits)

You must complete 120 credits from the Level One and Two courses before beginning:

At Masters level, pain management students will have the opportunity to explore a specialist area of interest in the form of either a written Dissertation (60 credits), or, a Structured Project (60 credits). The Dissertation and Structured Project would each take 30 weeks to complete. Equally, students can complete their degree as a fully taught option and select further elective courses that equal a total of 60 credits (normally, this would be three courses).

Students opting to specialise in the area of headache management will be able to select either the Dissertation (60 credits) or the Structured Project (60 credits); both which will be focussed on an area of headache management.

PGDiploma/MSc in the Clinical Management of Pain and Headache Disorders

If you are interested in pain with a sub-specialty focus, there is the option to study pain management with a headache management 'stream'. Following successful completion of the 60 core pain management credits, you will enroll on 60 credits of taught courses which focus on headache management. On successful completion, you would be awarded a PGDiploma in the Clinical Management of Pain and Headache Disorders.

Stuents who wish to continue to masters level, would continue by undertaking a dissertation or structured project (60 credits) in the area of headache management. On successful completion, you would be awarded a Master of Science degree in the Clinical Management of Pain and Headache Disorders.

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD)

Short credited courses can be taken on a standalone basis.

PPDs are credited modules taken directly from the Programme. You can select from the core courses or the headache management courses. They can be used as continuing professional development or as a more gradual route to obtaining the PG Certificate, Diploma or MSc.

For those registered on a PPD course, the same access to the University online features (library, student services etc) as a normal student is available. PPDs allow you to commit to something that will be less time consuming than the entire programme. You have the option of building modules/credits until you have enough credits (ie 60 credits for Certificate) over a number of years if you wish. You are also provided with a transcript to be used for continuing development and students taking PPDs study alongside participants on the actual Programme.

Therefore, the Programme is very flexible and you can also opt to take time out for employment or family reasons. It is also possible to pay by separate courses to help spread the cost of your studies.

Studying part-time online is ideal for people who wish to gain a world-class award while maintaining busy professional and personal commitments.


The Clinical Management of Pain programme is suitable for an international audience, where participants from all corners of the globe will be able to come together in a virtual environment to address, discuss and move forward the management of one of the world's most pressing health issues - the management of pain.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Study intensity Full-time
  • Credits
    180 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode

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Academic Requirements

The minimum entry requirement to the programme is a UK 2:1 undergraduate degree, or its international equivalent, in medicine, nursing, dentistry, psychology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, pharmacology or any other allied health care profession involved in the management of pain.

Applications from those with non-university professional qualifications such as RGN with appropriate clinical experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Tuition Fee Per Module

  • GBP 645 International
  • GBP 645 National

*Tuition fee per 10 credits


The majority of our students are self-funded however you may be eligible for awards offered by charities and trusts.

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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